India will not allow a military coup in Sri Lanka: Minister

COLOMBO: India will not tolerate a military takeover in Sri Lanka and will fully support President Maithripala Sirisena to foil any attempts at it, the Minister of Social Services, S.B.Dissanayake, told the media here.

He was reacting to an assertion by the Joint Opposition leader Dinesh Gunawardena in parliament last week that there could a military coup if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government continued to suppress the opposition and democratic movements both within and outside parliament.

Gunawardena had mentioned a police baton charge on a demonstration by retired disabled soldiers in Colombo recently.

Dissanayake said that President Sirisena enjoys good relations with India and could trust Indian support to foil any military coup attempt in Sri Lanka.

“India will send two ships [to support Sri Lankan government],” he told ‘Neth FM radio’.

Dissanayake also pointed out that Sri Lanka’s military has always been loyal to the government of the day.

However, in 1962, some top-level rightist army, navy and police officers, both from the regular and volunteer forces, had tried to stage a coup against the government of the leftist Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike. The attempt failed because one of the conspirators, a police officer, informed the government at the last moment.

The conspirators were tried, and varying punishments were given. Navy chief Adm.Royce de Mel was sacked.

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